We live in an age when no topic is taboo. We listened to Ms. Jenner talk about her gender-identity issues on prime-time TV, and I’ve heard the topic of colonoscopies come up at the office. Nothing seems to be too private to discuss.
But what about “The Change?”
Our mothers had early (and sometimes unnecessary) hysterectomies, so the symptoms of peri-menopause weren’t observed or discussed by the women in the family. Or maybe we don’t want to admit we’ve reached “that age.” Who are we if we’re no longer able to bear children? It’s a bit of an identity crisis, along with the absurd disconnection to our bodies which is frightening and tormenting.
I remember the exact day when my mind seemed to shut off communication with my body and each had its own agenda after that. No longer could I achieve that mindful spiritual state on a run when my body, mind, and spirit were all working together in harmony and I felt an ecstasy roll through me like a giant orgasm. It didn’t happen anymore. Everything was a struggle – sleeping, eating, running, breathing, reading, resting… all of it was suddenly unfamiliar and challenging.
I felt like my real body was replaced overnight with a broken one. Nothing seemed to work right anymore; it seemed like a stranger to me. It felt hot and uncomfortable, like a clunky suit that made it hard to get around. I attacked one symptom at a time, not knowing what was going on, but realizing that I most certainly was not myself.
I was treated for Lyme Disease. I was directed to an Asthma/Allergy specialist. I went to the eye doctor for a new prescription. And I tried every over-the-counter sleeping aid available with no success.
I tossed and turned and lay awake all night. I began my days exhausted, with chest pains and breathing problems. I was crabby. I couldn’t read things very well. I was tired. So very, very tired. It was all I could do most days to get through work and drive home to collapse in a chair and start the cycle all over again. “Mom isn’t feeling well,” was a mantra in my home.
I was in extreme survival mode, determined to get through the current day as best I could and hoping that tomorrow would be a different story.
But it was more of the same, day after day.
And no one ever talks about this horrible affliction that comes to women my age. So I went on believing I was dying – or at least that I wasn’t afraid to anymore.
And then one day, as quickly as it came, it went.
At least, I hope it did. I missed myself.